The Craftsmanship Behind the New Lifeproof Pullover
The new Lifeproof Pullover 2.0 is here! This time sat down with Gloria, our Head of Design and an innovator within Someone Somewhere. Where she shared her insights into the development process that led to this exciting new release. Telling us all about the craftsmanship making its big debut: knot stitching. As well as her experience teaming up with the Artisans of Hidalgo to co-designing this collection.
Keep reading to discover the magic behind our Lifeproof Pullover!
Someone Somewhere (SS): In Someone Somewhere, one of our tenets is to push to create functional and innovative products, could you tell us what was the main motivation behind the Lifeproof Pullover 2.0?
Gloria: A year ago, we as a company changed our design strategy to a new one called the virtuous triangle, which follows three distinct requirements: functionality, design, and impact. That every new product needs to have. Although design and impact have always been present in our creations, functionality has just become a central component of our strategy. Craftsmanship is generally seen as an aesthetic and decorative element of products and is rarely sought for its functionality. Ours was the opposite case, as we went through many meetings to seek ways to use craftsmanship as an element that adds function. This eventually opened a whole new range of possibilities.
When development began for the Lifeproof Pullover, we conducted a study with our user base in order to understand the most common points of failure present in the clothes they wear. We discovered that the neck and sleeves tend to come apart first, while the armpits are especially vulnerable to breaking. It’s in these parts that the most wear and tear happens, since these are areas that are all stitched together. With these findings in mind, we set our sights to use craftsmanship as reinforcement on these critical areas, giving the product a longer lifespan. The study and the new design strategy were the early stages for the conception of the Lifeproof Pullover 2.0. Enabling us to elevate the craftsmanship from aesthetics and cultural significance to something that also adds to the user experience from a functionality standpoint.
SS: Something that makes us proud is the kinship between artisans and designers. Tell us more about the experience of creating and co-designing with the Artisans of Hidalgo.
Gloria: First of all, we understood that craftsmanship is central to the design because we are a brand that’s built around social impact. Our main challenge was to guide the development of the craftsmanship towards our new goals. The design team keeps a constant dialog with the artisans from all our communities; therefore, we went about asking for their most strong stitching techniques aimed for skirts and the reinforcement of these. This search for the technique started around December and lasted until February. It was three months of constant collaboration, co-designing, and brainstorming ideas with the artisans, although we already had plans for that since October.
In the end, we decided to go with Hidalgo. A community we have been working with for over three years now. The artisans gave us three or four stitchings as a reference, from which we chose the one you see right now on the Lifeproof Pullover 2.0: knot stitching. We learned how to make this stitching ourselves and then sent samples to our labs to run tests. We discovered that this technique does indeed make the product stronger, Eureka! This was what we were looking for! We also did test other patterns that also had aesthetic qualities but they didn't pass the resistance tests. With knot stitching, we overcame the challenge we set out to solve from the very beginning.
SS: Now that you mention the knot stitching, what was the reason for selecting this technique? How were you able to integrate this into the product?
Gloria: The chief aspect of this technique is that it’s very strong because, in every stitch, a knot is being formed. Inside the community, this technique is mainly used to assemble garments. It is used to stitch skirts and traditional garments like “huipiles”. It’s not simply ornamental craftsmanship, that is the reason why we selected it. Another aspect of our development process was to find the perfect thread to go along with the technique. When we shared our requirements with the artisans, they found it very amusing because we were trying to use knot stitching in a way it could be visible. This contrasts the traditional way they use it, where it reinforces the inside and is only visible there. We explained that this technique wasn't only for reinforcement, but also to put a pattern on the outside. Like the cherry on the cake! This is the piece that gives the collection its identity.
SS: What can you tell us about the colors: Ink, Latte, and Milkshake?
Gloria: About that, we wanted colors that were in season (Spring). Someone Somewhere has a very dark color palette. Our flagship colors are Navy Blue and Oxford Grey. So, in Design, we were eager to tell everyone that we needed more warm and happy colors. Even though this is an essentials collection, we sought to open up our color palette. The Lifeproof Pullover 2.0 sweaters are monochromatic and don't have a pocket with lush iconography; nevertheless, this is our first attempt at products where the craftsmanship is shown within the context of essentials. We worked over a year investigating WGSN trends, the world's biggest trend bank, to understand color theory and concepts. We can say Latte and Ink are a MUST inside any wardrobe and Milkshake is, undoubtedly, this year's trend. We are more than happy with the results, we love it!
SS: In terms of durability and sustainability, how would you describe Lifeproof Pullover 2.0?
Gloria: In terms of sustainability, the chief aspect is the Lifeproof lining, which has an anti-bacterial and anti-odor finishing; meaning, you don't have to wash it so often. In the end, this leads to a positive environmental impact as thousands of gallons of water are spared within a year. In terms of durability, this is our first product with reinforced craftsmanship and we are planning to replicate it on t-shirts eventually. We want to develop a whole line of products with these same characteristics. Without a doubt, these two aspects combine to make for a heavy-duty garment. Lifeproof Pullover 2.0 will last you so long without stains or odors. That is the key aspect of this collection.
SS: Finally, how does it feel seeing the finished product after so many months of development, research, and hard work?
Gloria: We LOVE IT! Last year we launched the first Lifeproof and we thought the silhouette and details were amazing, but they didn't come with that much craftsmanship on them. Within the design team, we had a little bone to pick with this collection because of that very reason. We challenged ourselves to integrate this into our next collection no matter what. We started our research inside the communities, the internet, everywhere so that today Lifeproof Pullover 2.0 can be what we envisioned. It’s perfect and it has everything we dreamed of. With this collection, we showed everyone that we have changed and matured as a brand. The growing trend is for people to seek more durable products with less of a negative impact on the environment and more basic so they can be worn at any moment of the day. That is exactly what we are looking for and we got it!